ZANU PF old
guard's subtle flush of impatience with Jonathan Moyo finally boiled over
last week when Nathan Shamuyarira took him to task over utterances the
party's information supremo felt were demeaning of his role in bringing a
British television network into the country.
Moyo is the Minister
of Information and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet while
Shamuyarira, believed to be a long-standing confidante of President Robert
Mugabe and is also said to be writing the president's biography, is ZANU PF's
secretary for information and publicity. At the ruling party level Moyo is
The two have clashed over the invitation of
Sky News, a British television news channel, by ZANU PF for an interview with
President Mugabe last month. The embarrassing Sky News debacle indicated that
Moyo and Shamuyarira were pulling in different directions. Moyo, who is
increasingly seen as politically provocative, did not hide his opposition to
Sky News' visit whose invitation to Zimbabwe he unsuccessfully tried to
While the ZANU PF old guard's rash of impatience with Moyo
had not yet spilt into the public domain, open clashes between the party's
information chief and his deputy underscore the potential for fissures within
the ruling party.
The cracks could prise apart the bonds that
tie ZANU PF, which has of late emerged bruised by the colliding interests of
the party's old guard and the so-called new blood.
the first government minister to voluntarily resign from government since
independence in 1980, belongs to a generation of ageing and ailing liberation
war politicians now on their last legs. Moyo, who belongs to the "new blood"
in the party structures, first dabbled in the treacherous waters of
Zimbabwean politics in 1999 in the run-up to the country's constitutional
referendum in the same year before he was subsequently appointed minister in
Political observers were quick to say that there was more to
the latest bust-up than meets the eye. It was unheard of in ZANU PF, they
said, for senior members of the party to have such sharp differences on key
issues with junior members who seemingly did not have political
This meant that the old guard, seen as irrelevant in the
run-up to the 2008 presidential election, was increasingly being sidelined.
It also meant that those "standing up to their seniors in the party" had
sufficient political backing, otherwise they would not stir such
controversies without knowing where it would all end.
just a discussion surrounding the Sky News saga. I explained to the meeting
how they came into Zimbabwe and for what. Moyo also accepted my explanation.
We all agreed that he (Moyo) had overstepped the mark when he made certain
statements without verifying with me first," said Shamuyarira, trying to play
down the internal infighting which has become something of a public mess when
the party would rather it remained subtle.
But ZANU PF Politburo
sources told The Financial Gazette this week that Shamuyarira lost his cool
on Wednesday last week and took Moyo to task for undermining his
The source said retired army general Solomon Mujuru
kicked off the debate on Sky News and Shamuyarira immediately joined in by
taking a swipe at Moyo. Mujuru is viewed as the invisible man and voice of
conscience in ZANU PF politics.
"Shamuyarira was visibly angry
with Moyo, whom he accused of disrespect and indiscipline," the source said.
"Shamuyarira questioned Moyo about his attitude, which he said left a lot to
be desired. I have never seen Shamuyarira so angry. You could see that the
man was not amused with the manner in which his deputy was conducting himself
in public, especially on the Sky News issue."
Asked how Moyo
took Shamuyarira's sentiments, the source said: "Moyo merely said he had a
lot of respect for Shamuyarira and that he read a lot of literature written
The latest verbal punch-up comes hot on the heels of
another battle of wits pitting the Information Minister and the tough talking
vice-President Joseph Msika over the controversial designation of Kondozi
Farm in Odzi.
Vice-President Msika, who had stood up against the
designation of the horticultural farm and its takeover by the state-run
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority, lost the battle to the
Of late, Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited,
which falls under the Department of Information has also been critical of
John Nkomo, the Minister for Special Affairs in the President's Office
through its publications - The Herald and The Sunday Mail - over the issuance
of purported withdrawal letters to evicted white commercial farmers.
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa has been booted
out of the lush Rockland Farm in Mashonaland East which he controversially
seized in 2002 under the government's land reform programme.
Impeccable government sources who did not want to be named
confirmed yesterday that the minister had been shown the door and told "to
stick to his one farm in Manicaland province". Chinamasa confirmed that he
had ceded ownership of Rockland Farm, but denied that the farm belonged to
him personally but to his wife, Monica.
have however been known to use their relatives and wives to circumvent the
government's stated stipulation of one man, one farm as they used these as
fronts to mask their multiple farm ownership.
comes as government moves to regularise the disorderly land reform which thus
far has benefited mostly the high echelons of ZANU PF. Influential
politicians in the ruling party abused their positions to seize multiple
farms under the land reforms meant to resettle mostly landless peasants.
Multiple farm ownership, particularly by influential politicians, has added
strain to the credibility of the controversial land reform.
Sources in Mashonaland East said Chinamasa had been bundled out of
the province, leaving the prime Rockland Farm to former Marondera mayor
Luke Mukungatu. This was seen as a move by government to endear itself to
a sceptical public that has since dismissed the land reform as nothing
more than a gravy train. The government has pledged to deal with the
illegal multiple farm ownership irrespective of the positions of those
The sources said one of the reasons cited for Chinamasa's
eviction was that the minister, who occupied the farm in 2002 during the
frenzied and widely publicised fast-track programme, had "acquired the farm
Chinamasa is on record as saying in 2002 that his wife
Monica had been lawfully allocated 432 hectares of the 1500-hectare prime
farm, formerly owned by a Peter Baker.
It has also been
established that Chinamasa had the lion's share (432 hectares) and the most
productive land of the 1 500 hectare spread, which was divided into some
small plots to accommodate as many land-seekers as possible.
ZANU PF insiders dismissed Chinamasa's claim that he had voluntarily ceded
the farm to Mukungatu, saying that the minister was hiding behind
"The chickens are coming home to roost for those
who grabbed farms illegally taking advantage of the chaotic situation.
Chinamasa was actually on the verge of being taken to court, but he later
opted for an out-of-court settlement, he did not leave Mashonaland East
voluntarily," said a well placed source.
increasing pressure from critics over the shoddy manner in which it has
handled the whole land redistribution issue, has tasked ZANU PF's no-
nonsense hatchet man John Nkomo, who is the minister of Special Affairs in
the President's office, to dispossess corrupt government officials of
multiple farms, mostly under the A2 model.
Among other issues,
Nkomo was also tasked to address the issue of conflicting ownership claims,
wrong ownership and farm sizes.
It has however emerged, sources
said, that some officials, reluctant to let go their ill-begotten wealth,
were sharpening their knives against the ZANU PF political heavyweight with
some of them allegedly accusing him of restoring land to whites.
Nkomo, a political hardliner, has pledged to leave no stone unturned as ZANU
PF moves to clean up its messy act in a bid to restore its long
lost political dignity and also to bolster its faltering position ahead of
the watershed parliamentary poll in 2005.
MDC to capitalise on ZANU PF in-fighting:
6/10/2004 7:01:20 AM (GMT +2)
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has built an alliance with other
small opposition parties ahead of the 2005 plebiscite, is well poised to
capitalise on the fissures emerging within the ranks of the ruling ZANU PF,
the party's leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said.
In his weekly
message to the party, Tsvangirai said the MDC had built on the experience
accumulated since the party gave ZANU PF, in power and virtually unchallenged
since independence in 1980, a major scare in the parliamentary and
presidential elections in 2000 and 2002, respectively.
of the nationalistic ZANU PF cabal is now clear. The party 's leaders are at
each other's throats. The clashes between ZANU PF opportunists, reformers and
purists from the old school in that party are evidently paving the way for a
new Zimbabwe. A similar process took place in South Africa in the dying days
of apartheid," Tsvangirai said.
The ongoing anti-graft drive, which
will form a major part of the ruling party's manifesto for the 2005
plebiscite, has spawned internecine conflict within ZANU PF, while the
succession hot potato has also severely tested the uneasy unity in the ruling
The entente between the so-called young turks brought into
government by President Robert Mugabe in 2000, and the old nationalist guard
in the party has been tested in recent weeks.
publicised spat over the controversial Kondozi farm involving Vice President
Joseph Msika on the one hand, and ministers Jonathan Moyo, Joseph Made and
Christopher Mushowe on the other, is a case in point.
national chairman John Nkomo and the party's information chief Nathan
Shamuyarira have also been involved in public disputes with juniors in the
party over various issues in recent weeks, prompting the old guard, which
still dominates the party's powerful politburo, to issue a warning to uppity
juniors over their naked disregard for protocol.
all this made for a better showing for the opposition than in 2000, when the
MDC won 57 seats and denied ZANU PF a crucial two-thirds majority in
"In 2000 and in 2002, we exposed the regime's
weaknesses. We made tremendous advances and gave the people the necessary
confidence to take on tyranny.
"We made a significant dent on
the regime's pillars of support, forcing ZANU PF to apply every trick in the
book to influence the outcome of the elections.
invaluable experiences in that struggle. The experiences show us that it is
possible to introduce a new political culture in Zimbabwe."
MDC leader, who missed out on a parliamentary seat when he was defeated by
ZANU PF's Kenneth Manyonda in the Buhera North constituency, said ideals that
the ruling party had used to garner support could no longer be
"We are near the end of our struggle. Everything that ZANU PF
claimed to stand for is collapsing around Robert Mugabe: indigenisation,
land redistribution, black economic empowerment and food
"The so-called agrarian revolution has begun to
eat its own initiators and their families," Tsvangirai charged.
The country's biggest opposition party has finally come out clearly that it
would contest next year's parliamentary elections after some within the
leadership had hinted at a boycott.
The MDC is, however, pushing
for wholesale changes to electoral legislation, which makes for a decidedly
uneven playing field, steeped in favour of Zanu PF.
said there was renewed optimism within the ranks of the democratic movement
following last week's meeting with church leaders, opposition parties and
civic society groups.
"Events in the past week were quite
instructive and inspiring. For the first time since the National Working
People's Convention in 1999, we formally met as a broad alliance of
democratic forces and agreed on the future.
from civil society clarified their roles and responsibilities in the creation
of an environment in which the people are able to decide on critical
governance issues through the election of a leadership of their
The MDC leader said the party had welcomed Shakespeare
Maya, former president of the National Alliance for Good Governance
"Maya stated that after intense debate and discussion
within his party, there was a general agreement that the state of Zimbabwean
politics offered no room for a middle ground. Either one supports the
Movement for Democratic Change or one is still stuck in the retreating status
"We have an open door policy in the MDC. Welcome all. If you
believe, or if you can see, that Zimbabwe is on a downward spiral, do not
continue to sit on the fence. The MDC is your home," Tsvangirai said.
THE retail price of bread, which has been
rising steadily during the past few months, is expected to shoot up to
between $3 300 per loaf and $3 600 per loaf in the comings days as wheat
shortages continue to stalk the country.
The retail price of
bread is pegged at $2 800 per loaf but players in the sector said a further
increase would be effected before the end of this week mainly because of a 71
percent increase in price of flour.
Millers, who are using imported
wheat because of last year's low harvest, have been increasing the flour
price on a weekly basis citing the exchange rate as the major driver of
This Monday, the price of flour shot up from $2.4 million a
tonne to $4.1 million a tonne against an acute shortage of the
Players in the bread-making industry said if the
shortages of wheat persist, added to which there is continued depreciation of
the local currency against major currencies, the retail price of bread would
be above $4 000 per loaf by December this year.
The situation in
the industry has not been helped by the fact that local wheat stocks have
been depleted and that millers are finding it difficult to get the required
foreign currency to import wheat.
"There is a serious shortage of
flour on the market. The milling industry is relying on imported wheat but
the depreciation of the local dollar has seen millers hiking the price of
flour on a weekly basis," said an official from one the country's leading
"The other problem is that of limited foreign currency
allocation at the foreign currency auction floors. The end result is that
millers push up the price of flour to cover their overhead costs," he
The international price of wheat is around US$326 per tonne,
while locally produced wheat costs around US$140 per tonne.
However, players in the sector said the only way the deficit can be addressed
and the price of bread stabilised would be for the government to provide the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) with foreign currency to import about 150 000
tonnes of wheat to cover the deficit from June to October.
bakers are pessimistic whether the current farming season would produce
enough wheat considering the small hectarage which has been put under the
Zimbabwe consumes 30 000 tonnes of wheat per
could soon fall on some high-ranking National Parks and Wildlife Authority
officials as it emerged this week that a crack police team had moved in to
investigate allegations of corruption in the awarding of hunting
Industry players had raised concern over alleged corrupt
practices in the allocation of lucrative hunting licences which benefited
mostly senior ZANU PF politicians and their cronies.
told The Financial Gazette this week that officers from the Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) sought clarification from Environment Minister
Francis Nhema recently on the role of his ministry in the awarding of
Nhema has denied being questioned by the CID, but
confirmed that the law enforcement unit was investigating officials from the
department accused of corruptly parcelling out licences and faking hunting
"It is not true that I was questioned by the police.
Police are investigating some irregularities that were unearthed at the
National Parks. There are allegations of corruption that were levelled
against some senior members of National Parks," said Nhema.
Environment Ministry had also received reports that some National Parks board
members were involved in corrupt activities and has started its own
"I met the workers and management at the National
Parks and several allegations were raised at the meeting. The meeting was
aimed at finding a solution to the problems affecting the National Parks," he
Industry players in Matabeleland, who claimed that the
government had suffered prejudice worth billions of dollars, said the
investigations confirmed that pressure put on senior government officials
such as Vice-President Joseph Msika and Minister of Special Affairs John
Nkomo had started bearing fruit.
Indigenous safari operators in
Matabeleland had called on the government to intervene, but lethargy in
redressing the issue had raised suspicion that ZANU PF bigwigs could be
behind the development.
Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka could
neither deny nor confirm that Nhema was questioned twice, saying he was
verifying with the CID.
"I have not heard anything of that sort.
Let me check with serious fraud," said Mandipaka.
Nhema said his
ministry only concurred with the Department of National Parks and was not
directly involved in the issuing of hunting quotas.
He said there
was a lot of fighting in the safari sector as players were competing for
clients. The minister is on record saying the government was serious in
stamping out corruption in the safari sector.
THE Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which is about to take part in its second general
elections since its formation in 1999, will this time vet all new candidates
who will battle it out against ZANU PF in the 2005 plebiscite.
The opposition party, deemed to be the most serious challenger to the ruling
ZANU PF in the poll, has tasked its national executive to oversee the vetting
exercise, after which candidates for next year's polls will emerge.
Sources said the process would rid the MDC of pretenders and state agents
that had infiltrated the party, viewed by President Robert Mugabe's regime as
a puppet of the British and the American governments.
circumstances, candidates are selected through the local structures at ward
and district levels. They are nominated by consensus, failure of which
primary elections are conducted.
MDC spokesperson Paul Themba
Nyathi said all candidates for the 2005 parliamentary elections should be
fully subscribed members and should adhere to the party's
"One should be a bona fide member and should be
knowledgeable and subscribe to the party's principles, which encompass
democratic principles and abiding by the rule of law," Nyathi
He said there was nothing extraordinary about the exercise,
adding that all sitting Members of Parliament and councillors had been
excluded as they met the necessary criteria. The vetting was mainly targeted
at the new members, said Nyathi.
The move comes in the wake of
bitter squabbles in the party stemming from sharp differences between the
so-called intellectuals and trade unionists, heightening fears that the MDC
could have pressed the self-destruct button.
wrangling in the party had trickled down to cell, ward and district levels,
raising fears that if the leadership failed to patch up their differences and
consolidate the gains of the previous poll, they could be penetrated by the
ruling party and lose next year's elections.
The squabbles have led
to defections from the party including those of three councillors who have
reportedly joined ZANU PF.
The resignation from the MDC of
disgraced acting Harare executive mayor Sekesai Makwavarara has also raised
questions about the allegiance of some senior party officials who were
elected into public office on an MDC ticket.
"The party is
undergoing this exercise to find out who is and who isn' t a genuine member,"
an insider said. "There have been so many squabbles that the party was left
with no choice but to vet its members. Some councillors have even defected to
In 2002, the party's leadership expelled former Highfield
legislator Munyaradzi Gwisai after he clashed with the MDC's policies,
including the party's stance on the land reform exercise.
political chameleon, Shakespeare Maya, whose little known National Alliance
for Good Governance (NAGG) never really registered on the relevance radar,
last week joined the country's biggest and probably only credible opposition
political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
news of the political alliance between Maya's NAGG and former trade unionist
Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC filtered through, it could only provoke mixed
feelings among observers weighing the implications of the move.
This was moreso given that Maya, who, to all intents and purposes, is trying
to give a fresh heart into what is a doomed political career increasingly
characterised by self-doubt, had over the years come through as a ZANU PF
sympathiser even though he had his own party. In fact it had been suggested
that NAGG was a ZANU PF front to confuse opposition politics
The move also set a few tongues wagging: Is Maya a
flexible and courageous politician? Does this mean that Tsvangirai's MDC is
capable of forging strong and resolute alliances with other opposition
political parties in the fight for a new democratic dispensation whose path
has been strewn with violence?
Other than the mixed feelings and
the few questions raised, the country's political life remained largely the
same as if nothing had happened. Nor was there any noticeable tremor in the
bunker of the ruling ZANU PF, which was shaken by the MDC during
parliamentary elections in 2000 and the subsequent contentious presidential
ballot two years later.
While sceptics were unanimous that Maya had
been strategically planted by ZANU PF to destroy the opposition from within
its ranks, others said the assimilation of NAGG by the MDC was of little
consequence. They pointed out that the fact that the country's political life
had not been shaken by the move underlined a lot about Maya and NAGG's
If anything, they said, Maya's move would be
of very little, if any, significance to the opposition party. Instead, it was
Maya who stood to benefit as this would bolster what they said was the NAGG
leader's faltering political fortunes.
But University of
Zimbabwe lecturer Joseph Kurebwa was of a different opinion.
"Maya stands greater chances of fighting ZANU PF while with the MDC than to
go it alone," he said.
"Statistically, his joining the MDC may have
no significance, but it is the broader meaning of the move. He'll probably
make an impact in terms of his decision to join he MDC. Maya doesn't have a
meaningful following. The fact that he has decided to join forces with the
MDC demonstrates how the opposition would like to make a meaningful
contribution to society as one. There is going to be a wider divide between
the ruling party and the opposition, and this symbolically is
He added: "Maya's move could earn the MDC a number of
votes in terms of people sitting on the fence."
the MDC's new recruit was understood to be eyeing the Chegutu constituency.
The seat would be contested in next year's parliamentary poll but it remained
unclear whether the MDC's national executive would endorse him as the party's
official candidate, they said.
However, in his weekly Tuesday
message, Tsvangirai has already publicly welcomed Maya, whose career as an
opposition politician seemed headed for the rocks before it even really took
Before his recent move, Maya, who mustered a paltry 11 906
votes in the controversial 2002 presidential poll against President Robert
Mugabe's 1 685 212 and Tsvangirai's 1 258 401, had increasingly drifted into
During the same election, which was rejected
by the MDC and the international community, Wilson Kumbula of ZANU received
31 368 votes while ZAPU's Paul Siwela walked away with 11 871ballots
Another political analyst, Heneri Dzinotyiwei, said: "The
challenge that the opposition has is to create a chemistry that can
galvanise representation of the opposition across the board. Whether or not
that specific individual can bring about change or not is something
"Will the marriage be taken seriously by ZANU PF? I don't
think so. The MDC, as the main opposition, needs to identify forces to merge
with and bring meaningful change to the country. So far, ZANU PF has made
tremendous strides in consolidating their power bases and this cannot go
MDC insiders said they would be closely monitoring Maya
as they were still not sure that his shift was genuine.
still wondering why he has joined us," a party insider said. "He used to
criticise the MDC with so much vigour and his move is suspect. He must be
taking after a certain minister in ZANU PF who used to viciously criticise
that party, but was later rewarded with a ministerial post. Maya attacked the
MDC left, right and centre and all of a sudden he says he wants to be our
member. We will be watching him very closely."
Maya, who missed a
recent rally addressed by Tsvangirai, has already courted the ire of the MDC
leader, who castigated those who failed to attend saying they face possible
A NATIONWIDE strike
that could once again cripple the country's postal service looks imminent at
Zimpost following a deadlock between management and workers after a breakdown
in the collective bargaining process.
Workers have since served
management with a notice to embark on a strike starting from June
The standoff has been further complicated by what
workers' representatives term intransigence by management over the
implementation of a salary increment recommended by an
Zimpost has been directed to award a huge salary hike
that will see the state-owned postal firm's annual salary bill increasing by
824 percent to $98 billion.
However, management announced on
Monday that it would not effect the award, arrived at through a voluntary
arbitration process after collective bargaining negotiations broke
Gladys Mutyavaviri, Zimpost's general manager, wrote to
staff indicating that the company would not implement the recommended
"Implementation of the arbitration award will result in a
situation where lower level staff will earn more than senior staff. Serious
salary overlaps will result from implementation of the arbitration award. The
award is therefore not implementable," Mutyavaviri stated.
Management then met workers' representatives later on Monday, but this failed
to break the deadlock, prompting workers to serve management with a notice to
strike in 14 days' time.
Mutyavaviri said the monthly staff costs
arising from the arbitration award would amount to $6.6 billion per month and
almost $80 billion annually.
"Currently our average monthly
revenue, which amounts to about $5 billion per month, is not adequate to
cover staff costs alone, even before taking into account other operational
expenses which have to be met in running the business.
therefore not practically possible to sustain the salaries emanating from the
arbitration award. In addition to the above-mentioned $80 billion, an
additional $18 billion will be required to clean up salary overlaps,
resulting in total staff costs of about $98 billion in 2004. Overall, total
staff costs will increase from $11.9 billion as at end of December 2003 to
about $98 billion in year 2004.
"The resultant total staff costs
amounting to $98 billion are clearly unsustainable," Mutyavaviri
She added that Zimpost would "refer the matter back to the
The National Employment Council for the
posts and telecommunications industry directed the Zimpost salaries issue to
voluntary arbitration in March following a deadlock in the collective
Zimpost proceeded to award workers a 50
percent increase on all allowances, together with what management said were
"median market salaries" backdated to January 2004.
might still be out on the efficacy of the current crusade to harness the
hitherto elusive diaspora dollar in the formal economy, but early indications
are that the initiative could well confound even the staunchest
Remittance figures emanating from the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) indicate that as much as US$16 million has flowed into the
economy following the launch of the initiative to encourage Zimbabweans in
the diaspora to use formal channels to send money back home.
This would crudely translate to an average US$8 million in each of the two
months since RBZ governor Gideon Gono announced measures to bolster
the foreign currency inflows from the diaspora.
the current inflows on a full-year basis, and including an expected upturn in
figures as more and more non-resident Zimbabweans lose their early
apprehension over the sustainability of the new money transfer dispensation,
come up to as much as US$100 million per year.
This would doubtless
make remittances from Zimbabweans in the diaspora one of the major sources of
foreign currency flowing into the country, which has suffered chronic
shortages of foreign exchange since the onset of the economic recession, now
in its fifth consecutive year.
The diaspora dollar would rank quite
favourably with traditional sources of foreign exchange such as tobacco, gold
and tourism, all of which have been in decline since 2000.
Tobacco, which is meant for the unmanufactured international leaf market, is
losing its glitter as the country's premier foreign currency earner in the
face of the controversial land reform programme that has seen expropriation
of formerly white-owned commercial farms to resettle mostly landless
Last year, the country's 83 million kilogrammes of the then
golden leaf earned a total of US$183 million in revenue. It earned in excess
of US$600 million at its peak as the major export earner.
brought about US$170 million into the country in 2003.
analyst John Robertson said the upsurge in inflows did not necessarily mean
that non-resident Zimbabweans were sending more money back home.
"This is the direct result of a higher floor price, which started off at $5
200 to the US dollar and is now $5 300, as well as the willingness to channel
funds through official channels as opposed to the risk they were taking
"Quite a number was waiting for a favourable rate, as
opposed to the levels of about $3 500 to the US dollar that used to prevail.
And now that the rate is attractive, the build-up is reflected in the rise in
May inflows, but I suppose the figures will revert to previous
levels," Robertson said.
Non-resident Zimbabweans have always
remitted what are beginning to appear as substantial amounts of the
sought-after major currencies back home, but all this found its way to the
grey economy, as foreign currency dealers took advantage of the arbitrage
opportunities presented by the dual exchange rate policy stubbornly pursued
by the government.
This drove the local currency to nether levels
previously unfathomable, even as the economic recession gained negative
Before the stabilisation programme being spearheaded by
the RBZ following the presentation of the watershed monetary policy of
December 2003, the local unit was trading at about $6 000 to the United
States dollar and about $8 000 to the British pound.
exchange dealers enjoyed roaring business as the formal market simply dried
up, with the country's foreign exchange cover
Even government departments and
national utilities relied on the parallel market for supplies of hard
currencies to meet critical inputs and service external arrears.
This, however, ceased to be the case when the RBZ introduced controlled
auctions of foreign exchange and declared war on parallel
Rates on the parallel market simply plummeted,
tracking those obtaining at the bi-weekly auctions superintended by the
By the end of January, the local currency was trading at about
$3 500 to the greenback, having appreciated by about 50 percent within one
The estimated three million Zimbabweans strewn all over the
world, particularly in Britain, the United States and South Africa, have
always been touted as a possible source of foreign currency
However, not many ventured to craft the possible methods
to tap the diaspora dollar and when the RBZ came up with measures, which
included a diaspora floor price of $5 200 to the greenback and the licensing
of money transfer agents to replace many murky facilitators that had
proliferated to exploit the absence of a formal transfer mechanism, many were
To date, up to 15 money transfer agents have been
licensed by the central bank, effectively replacing the myriad informal
Indeed, the initiative is yet to win over everybody, but
the unexpected success recorded thus far, with an estimated US$20
million flowing into the country since the new measures were announced on
April 21, will certainly cause even the most strident critics to take
Of course, some citizens in the diaspora still maintain that
they are not about to part with their hard-earned foreign exchange to
indirectly support an economic programme crafted under a government that
hounded them from home and disenfranchised them in the process.
THE future of Zimbabwe's largest referral
institution, the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, is in jeopardy unless the
government comes up with an immediate cash injection to reverse the fast
Officials at the hospital this week
blamed the same negative factors that have seen the country's health delivery
system collapsing, for the sorry state of affairs at Parirenyatwa. Apart from
brain drain, these included an acute shortage of drugs and essential
equipment resulting from a crippling foreign currency crunch.
This comes at a time when government, long accused of profligacy,
has noticeably scaled down on its services to the public as most of the
funds needed to provide the actual services expected of it would have to
be borrowed when the government is under pressure to borrow as little
Thomas Zigora, the group's chief executive officer,
admitted this week that the hospital, which is also owed millions of dollars
by defaulting patients, was confronted by an acute shortage of
Zigora, however, said the phenomenon was not peculiar to
Parirenyatwa alone but other health delivery institutions.
is no secret that public health institutions in Zimbabwe are severely
under-funded, and have been for a number of years now. Not only is there a
problem with respect to the level of budgetary allocations,
the non-availability of foreign currency has also become an even
greater obstacle to the provision of health care services especially for
that segment of the community that cannot afford private hospital
"All we need now is a bit of foreign currency to rehabilitate
our medical equipment and we shall be well on our way to full recovery,"
Eric Bloch, a local economist, expressed outrage at
what he said were skewed priorities in the allocation of public resources in
the face of crumbling social services.
"I find it difficult to
understand why we spend so much more on defence as if we are at war , than on
health where the problem of HIV/AIDS is more threatening," Bloch
In the 2003/2004 budget, the Ministry of Defence was
allocated $1.201 trillion, while the Health Ministry got only $701.2 billion,
much of which was channelled towards remuneration.
Hospital is considered one of the most critical referral health institutions
in the country as it caters for the bulk of the nation who live below the
poverty datum line.
"Health care is a basic human right that is
being increasingly recognised as an important aspect of the global millennium
development goals," said Jonathan Mafukidze, a sociologist at the University
"Development is not development at all if nations
are made up of sick people who cannot access treatment and other forms of
care. Health care must be delivered on the basis of need rather than ability
to pay as emphasised by private hospitals. It becomes imperative for
government to seriously revamp the public health delivery system for the
benefit of the poor majority," he added.
THE United Kingdom,
long accused by the Zimbabwe government of refusing to atone for its colonial
sins and reneging on pledges to finance the country's land redistribution
exercise, has stated that the full requirements of land reform are beyond the
capacity of any single country.
British embassy spokesperson
Sophie Honey said the United Kingdom was never against land reform, but could
not support the chaotic fast-track programme which the Harare government
embarked on in 2000.
The land issue has been at the centre of a
bitter diplomatic row between Whitehall and Harare, with the latter accusing
the British government of interfering in the domestic politics of a sovereign
state through its perceived support for the opposition in the country and
ducking its responsibility to finance land redistribution as the former
It is the emotive land issue which saw the UK's
early adulation of President Robert Mugabe at independence in 1980 initially
turn to scepticism and, subsequently, outright hostility when he started
pushing ahead with the controversial "back to the land" idealism -
dispossessing white commercial farmers to resettle landless blacks. The
diplomatic fences were irretrievably broken when President Robert Mugabe won
the 2002 presidential election tainted by unfair campaigning, systematic
bullying and intimidation of the opposition.
"The UK has not
reneged on commitments (made) at Lancaster House. At Lancaster House the
British government made clear that the long-term requirements of land reform
in Zimbabwe were beyond the capacity of any individual donor
"Since independence we have provided 44 million pounds for
land reform in Zimbabwe and 500 million pounds in bilateral development
"The UK remains a strong advocate for effective, well
managed and pro-poor land reform. Fast-track land reform has not been
implemented in line with these principles and we cannot support it," Honey
Britain has imposed sanctions on President Mugabe and the
Zimbabwean ruling elite, while Harare has retaliated with a diplomatic
offensive targeted at portraying British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a
latter-day imperialist siding with the white commercial farmers dispossessed
through the controversial land reforms.
contends that Zimbabwe's problems stem from economic mismanagement and a
flagrant disregard for basic democratic tenets.
"Land reform cannot
be separated from other issues of concern - democracy, the rule of law,
respect for human rights and the economy.
"This was agreed,
including by the government of Zimbabwe, at the Abuja conference in September
2001," Honey said.
Honey denied that the British government, which
declared that the 2002 presidential elections in Zimbabwe were not free and
fair, wanted to impose a government in Harare that would be amenable to
alleged British imperialist designs, a common allegation by President Mugabe
and many of his lieutenants Zanu PF and government.
"It is for
the people of Zimbabwe to decide who should lead them. We believe they were
denied that choice through flawed presidential elections in 2002," Honey
A FULL Harare City
Council meeting that had been slated for last Tuesday failed to kick off
after some of the few remaining councillors failed to turn up, as the drama
at Town House continues.
As a result, Harare City Council chamber
secretary Josephine Ncube was forced to postpone the meeting to today because
those who attended did not constitute a quorum.
Only 11 of the
remaining 26 councillors attended the aborted meeting.
town clerk, Nomutsa Chideya, said at least two-thirds of the councillors must
be present for official deliberations to take place.
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo suspended 13 city fathers recently after
they defied his orders by proceeding to elect a new deputy mayor to take over
from the embattled Sekesai Makwavarara, Harare's acting executive
The suspended councillors, who came into the municipality
through the opposition Movement for Democratic Change ticket, have since
filed an urgent application in the High Court seeking the reversal of
Chombo's decision and also to bar the minister from interfering in council
Yesterday, their lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, told The
Financial Gazette that the hearing had been set for next Monday before
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu.
YET another delegation
of African heads of state and government makes tracks to Sea Island, Georgia,
in the United States of America, the venue of this year's summit of the Group
of Eight (G8) industrialised nations, amid growing signs of fading patience
in the rich North over Africa's apparent failure to police its
Indeed, while presidents Joaquim Chissano, Thabo Mbeki,
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, John Kufour, Abdoulaye Wade and Olusegun Obasanjo will
make the trip, mandarins in the United States diplomatic service had cast
doubt over whether the Africans would be invited to make yet another
pilgrimage to state their increasingly tenuous case for aid.
G8, which comprises the United States, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan,
Britain and Russia, will begin its annual summit on Tuesday June
Princeton Lyman of the Council on Foreign Relations in
Washington told a G8 preparatory conference held in London in April that no
outsiders - except poor cousin Russia of course - had been invited to the
summit at Sea Island.
"No invitations have gone out and this
year the G8 summit will be dominated by two issues - the Middle East and
terrorism," Lyman said.
This had led to speculation that Africa's
issues would be frozen, at least for another year, from the rich countries'
agenda until the 2005 summit in Britain, where Tony Blair would seek to
prioritise the continent he famously described as a scar on the human
It would follow then that the G8 nations, themselves
rent in the middle by the divisive Iraq issue, would be rid of attending to
Africa's cocktail of woes - HIV/AIDS, poverty and the stalled New Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD), a blueprint that seeks a rebirth in terms
of how the continent conducts its governance and business.
the NEPAD initiative - driven by Mbeki, Obasanjo and Bouteflika - that had
given Africa access to the last two G8 summits in Canada (2002) and France
However, lack of headway, particularly over the peer review
mechanism, which the rich north was eagerly interested in, has seen the early
optimism that greeted NEPAD dissipate into indifference.
peer review mechanism, which was aimed at allowing African states to
voluntarily benchmark their economic and political performance, has
been lampooned by critics for lacking teeth as it is silent on penalties
for nations found guilty of economic mismanagement and a democratic
Proponents have, however, indicated that the system was
not designed to penalise or sanction governments which do not comply, but to
expose both successes and failures in an effort to establish benchmarks for
Africa's political leadership.
African leaders have dismissed
calls for the continent's peer review mechanism to be given additional muscle
to censure errant governments.
NEPAD's business group has expressed
frustration over the "toothless" peer review system, saying business intended
to push for an additional rating mechanism to assess a country's political
governance as an investment aid.
To date, only 18 out of the 53
African states have applied to be rated under the mechanism, displaying naked
disdain by many governments, including Zimbabwe, which are not willing to
subject themselves to scrutiny for reasons that are all too
Zimbabwe, which has increasingly been ostracised following
the adoption of a decidedly isolationist stance by Harare, is in such bad
shape it would not stand even minimum scrutiny.
peer review mechanism kicked off on May 25 with Ghana being the first ever
test case. NEPAD adherents say this marks an important step in the project,
while sceptics dismiss it as a desperate gesture to pacify the demanding G8
The Ghana review was conducted by a panel of eminent
Africans including former South African central bank governor Chris Stals and
Graca Machel, wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela,
which will report back on a variety of issues ranging from corruption to
political freedom to economic transparency.
Rwanda and Mauritius
will also be reviewed in the next few months.
In spite of the
ongoing efforts to breathe new life into the initiative, political scientist
Ibbo Mandaza contends that NEPAD has lost steam due to the fact that it has
never shaken off aspersions that it was a Western contrived creature alien to
the nuances of the African continent.
"It (NEPAD) has lost steam
and needs serious revisiting because there does seem to be serious pandering
to the West.
"The issue of preconditions for aid is also nonsense,
particularly when one considers that the West, through colonialism, is partly
responsible for much of Africa's problems. The past is in the present,"
"Peer reviews should never have been instigated from
outside, but by Africans themselves and not because they want aid. Africans
should make up their minds," he added.
ON November 26 2003, our editorial comment called on
the powers-that-be to restore integrity and credibility to the fast
declining standards in the country's secondary school examination system.
This came in the face of a series of monumental blunders and bungling by
the much-maligned Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council
There was heightened anxiety over the country's
discredited secondary school examination system, which had seen unprecedented
confusion. The maelstrom was spawned by ineptitude and incompetence on the
part of those who administer the now appalling system.
time, the embarrassing examination debacle included cases where students had
reportedly studied wrong set books while others received results for
examinations they did not sit for. Not to mention the unnecessary delays in
announcing examination results and the leakage of examination
And we warned then that what had emerged publicly could
just be a tip of the iceberg because the picture could be pretty bad. And our
worst fears have been confirmed. The pendulum has swung too far the other
Indeed, the situation seems to have taken a turn for the
worse. A multitude of long-suffering parents and pupils are justifiably wary
over the ridiculous and short-sighted delay in registering candidates for
this year's "O" and "A" level examinations. Enter the arrogant Isaiah
Mashayamwando Shumba, the deputy Minister of Education, Sport and Culture who
last week blamed, of all things, the drought for the delay in registering
candidates. Please, what is this world coming to? Those of the
Parliamentarians with conscience must have frozen in time wondering whether
they were hearing right as they listened to Shumba's not only specious and
spurious but self-evidently absurd and ludicrous claims! What in God's name
is the link between drought and the delayed registration of the
Will Shumba and his scapegoating self-important
colleagues ever take matters of national concern seriously? Is it maybe
because their children get educated outside the country and get to write the
more reputable Cambridge examinations denied the common ruck of folk through
the localisation of secondary school examinations? Indeed with jokes like
this as ministers what government needs saboteurs? The deputy
minister's parliamentary "tragicomedy" could be laughable were it not for
its implications on the country's biggest assets - children - on
whose scholastic development the salvation of this great nation is
The shameful truth is that Shumba's lack of seriousness
did not only show his lack of respect for Parliament but that he takes
Zimbabweans, whose intelligence he insulted, for granted. That he did not
conceal his disdain for the people underlines the contempt with which he
holds the sacrifices made by peasant parents practising back-breaking
subsistence farming and the generality of hard-pressed workers bearing the
brunt of the economic meltdown-induced social deprivation, to afford their
children and loved ones that life-time meal ticket - education.
The head of the bungling ministry, Aeneas Chigwedere, did not fare any better
early this week. As usual, he weighed in with a
less-than-convincing explanation as an eleventh hour attempt to reassure the
obviously frustrated nation. The poignant message from the minister was: we
have localised these examinations and we will do things our way. Our own
shoddy way we suppose! No minister, running our own show does not mean
incompetence and ineptitude as displayed by your ministry. It does not mean
destroying that which works well.
Nothing more than what the
minister and his deputy said can be more telling or conclusively prove the
incompetence in the ministry, how out of touch they are with reality, the
extent they are out of their depth when it comes to the problems besetting
the education system and why the system, previously the pride of Zimbabwe and
envy of many a nation, is teetering on the verge of collapse. Considering
what has transpired so far, one can say with certainty that there is no
sufficient management depth within the Ministry of Education to restore the
examination system to its former glory after the serious blow to its
credibility wrought by the said incompetence and ineptitude.
Suffice to say that the public's confidence in the examination system is
irretrievably battered. Standards in the system have continued with
their terrifyingly swift decline. Yet there is nothing fundamentally wrong
with the education infrastructure and system per se. But it is the management
of the system that leaves a lot to be desired which has made the
country's education system something more akin to a temple built on a sewer.
Little wonder the general feeling is that Zimbabwe, whose education was
touted as the best in Africa, made a tactical mistake when it switched from
the internationally acclaimed Cambridge "O" and "A" level examinations. It
was not ready and does not have the capacity to administer its own
internal examination system.
However, that the centre no longer
holds in the all-important education sector should be blamed squarely on
Minister Chigwedere and his legion of under-performing officials - forget the
government's incompetence gloss-over policy of collective responsibility. It
is sad that ministerial packages in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe
is yet to make an example of incompetent people by firing them, are not
heavily leveraged towards performance.
Heads must therefore roll
at the Education Ministry. And we will, as we did in November 2003, reiterate
once again that since the fish rots from the head, the axe should fall on the
head of the ministry first - Minister Chigwedere - because that is where the
buck stops. Speed is of the essence because this is a race against time if
Zimbabwe is to arrest the frightening slump in the examination system and
restore it to what it once was.
EDITOR - I found Mbulawa Moyo's
article entitled "Chefs and their unreal lifestyles" very interesting. I
could not agree more with him.
I was in Zimbabwe recently to buy a
property and my brother took me around the northern suburbs to view a few
In Borrowdale, he pointed at a massive house which is
almost complete and indicated that it belonged to one of the topmost men in
the police force.
I was shocked that the man, who came back from
the liberation war in 1980 with nothing and commenced his police career as a
constable could, just 24 years later, afford to own such a
I conservatively value the house at US$100 000, that is,
Z$550 million. This works out to be a net salary of about Z$2 000 000 for
his entire working life to date.
Where did this man get the
money from? A comment from him would be welcome as he is part of a crusade,
together with the President, to harass and arrest other citizens on
I urge the authorities to investigate the
source of his funds and, while at it, probe all those senior government
officials who had their offshore bank accounts frozen in Switzerland and the
These are the people who are guilty of massive
externalisation of foreign currency.
The Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe must investigate all the individuals blacklisted by the European
Union for possible economic crimes.
Demonstrate to us that we are
all equal before the law.
players last week appealed to the government to categorise the golden leaf as
a winter crop to enable them to access funding under the state-assisted
winter cropping programme.
Zimbabwe Farmers' Development Trust
chief executive Lovegot Tendengu said tobacco farmers were being marginalised
in the disbursement of funds for winter wheat despite the fact that
preparations for tobacco cropping begin during the winter
Preparations for the next tobacco season are now in full
swing, with farmers now expected to be fumigating their
Ever since the government launched its loan scheme to new
farmers through the Agricultural Development Bank last year, about $150
billion has been disbursed so far mainly for maize and other grains such as
"We need the government to prioritise tobacco when
availing inputs and funding for winter crops as it does to wheat because a
slack in beginning the season also affects output," Tendengu
"We are communicating with government officials at a high
level on the matter and we have been tasked to submit a strategic turnaround
proposal for the industry. We are currently polishing the draft," he
The tobacco industry is the single largest employer in the
country with over 50 000 farmers, both old and new.
output in the sector has been nosediving over the past four years owing
largely to the government's unplanned land reform that displaced 90 percent
of white commercial farmers, who contributed much to the country' s
This year's output is expected to go down by
about 32 percent from last year's 82 million kilogrammes.
Players in the industry have attributed the slump to the lack of funding and
the shortage of equipment.
This year, the auction floors opened a
week earlier in a bid to lure farmers to surrender their crop.
The government in its quest to solve the funding problem introduced the
contract-farming concept where tobacco merchants sponsor farmers, but the
concept has not been very successful due to the shortage of
Tendengu said farmers were now also agitating
for direct marketing where a company which gives more funding towards crop
production can purchase from the farmer directly.
More than 5.2
million kgs of the golden leaf have gone through the hammer to date since the
auction floors opened on April 16.
ZIMBABWE'S food security situation has improved this year
despite a looming humanitarian crisis triggered by persistent droughts and
food supply disruptions, according to a report by Save the Children
The report is a based on a food security assessment conducted
by the organisation in the Matabeleland north province. The province, with
less than half the country's population, is home to about three-quarters
of Zimbabweans facing starvation.
Officials from Save the
Children UK said although this year's harvest was comparatively better than
the previous season's , "some shortages" would inevitably crop up in the
region later in the year.
"I would like to disagree with remarks
that the region, and the country in general, is food-insecure. Basically, the
harvest this year is better than last year's, but there will be some
shortages later on in the year," an official who spoke off the record
The official said vulnerability assessment conducted on
millions of households according to three distinctive wealth groups - the
poor, the middle wealthy and the better off - reflected an improvement in
food security compared to the country's profile last year.
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains
fundamentally poor as a region compared to other regions unless serious and
drastic measures are put in place to stimulate economic growth and ultimately
Various empirical studies by independent organisations
and world bodies like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have
shown that despite being endowed with exploitable natural resources more than
most regions, the region has remained the poorest.
is, however, constrained in the following ways which is the reason why it
continues to lag behind in terms of economic growth - inconsistent and
sometimes unsuitable economic policies (which is the source of such ills as
inflation, high interest rates, high budget deficit), lack of foreign direct
investment, barriers to international trade, political instability, low
savings and investment, poor technology and the
Although SSA region is undoubtedly
constrained in a number of ways, there seem to be a glaring lack of
commitment on the part of governments when it comes to policy implementation.
I say lack of commitment because the respective governments have more than
enough expertise and intellectual capacity and in some cases they even have
the funding (despite rampant brain drain) to diagnose the economic ailments
affecting them and prescribe the relevant policies.
A number of
commissions have been set up in a number of countries to look at various
issues of national interest with the view to identifying and advising the
governments on how to address and progress on such matters. Sadly, however,
either the results of the commissions were either half implemented,
deliberately set aside or, worse still, totally ignored despite the noble
policy implications of the results.
This is usually the case where
the results are critical of the government's conduct or the operations of
certain sections of the society deemed to be untouchable. This leaves one
wondering why set up a commission in the first place when the government had
a certain pre-determined outcome which it is ready to pursue regardless of
how unsuitable and unsustainable the policy could be.
the results have shown otherwise, they would rather condemn the outcome and
say "to hell with the public resources used to finance the commission" than
open a stinking Pandora box.
Sub-Saharan Africa needs people who
are committed and who can make sacrifices especially when it comes to
implementing policies which, in the short run might cause temporary suffering
of people but whose long run results will benefit the nation. The national
interests should be considered first rather than personal and individual
interests. The stinking carcass in the financial sector went unabated for
some time not because the policy makers did not know what to do but simply
because to a greater extent the people who are vested with the authority, by
virtue of the offices they held, were either too reluctant to change things
for reasons best known to themselves or were dangerously ignorant of the
Despite having paraphernalia of policies to pursue at
their disposal, they watched the nation suffocating to death. May be it's
because they were too scared and timid to institute a mouth-to-mouth
resuscitation fearing that in the process they might contract diseases that
could spell their demise as well, so they would better simply watch. It only
took less than four months for a determined and action- packed governor to
come up with action-backed policies, that have since showed positive results.
However this did not come about without him sacrificing other things like
his freedom especially that of movement and enduring the wrath of
attempted blackmail, threats and vituperative statements coming from some of
the victims of his crusade.
Credit should go not to the Governor
alone, but to all Zimbabweans who have supported and continue to support his
policies. There are a number of corporate leaders who have successfully
turned around their organisations amid all adverse factors, who are suitable
candidates for appointment to lead ailing parastatals and other public
institutions. Politics aside, SSA needs to progress and it can only do so
provided capable people with proven turnaround records are given the mandate
to run the relevant institutions. Unfortunately and paradoxically,
governments have an unusual magnanimity of rewarding people not on merit but
on political grounds, no wonder why some once vibrant organisations have been
reduced to pathetic shadows of their former self.
countries are to achieve economic growth there is need not only to address
but to take action on the relevant issues with the seriousness and commitment
they deserve. The factual reality that SSA is the poorest region in the world
is enough shame and stigma for governments and regional groupings to
seriously start working together with a view to overcoming the problems.
Although investment has increased in SSA in the recent years more effort is
needed to achieve dynamic and sustainable economic growth.
following elements of policy framework need a practical approach to promote
sustainable growth and reduce poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.
enhance the region's growth performance, countries should seek to boost the
ratio of private investment to GDP'
Although private investment has
increased in many SSA countries in recent years, there is need to improve on
that and make sure that it's sustainable. Governments therefore should strive
to create environments that encourages private investment, especially that
promotes confidence in appropriate macro-economic policies. They should
ensure that the necessary infrastructure and qualified labour are available,
creates and maintains a transparent and efficient regulatory framework and
justice system to safeguard property rights, adequately enforce contracts,
encourage competition and more importantly ensure good
Governments should focus on delivering essential public
services and basic infrastructure, as well as promoting human resource and
There is need to increase the quality and
quantity of basic health care and other essential services to improve social
indicators of developmental goals. The HIV/AIDS pandemic which is threatening
to deplete the middle aged and working class should be dealt with
effectively. The government should seek cooperation from the corporate world,
church organisations, non-governmental organisations and other institutions
in fighting the pandemic. There is also need to afford every citizen
basic education so that they are able to manage their environments and are
able to also prevent themselves from other rampant diseases such as cholera
and malaria. There is need for governments to mobilise funds and come up with
an efficient and affordable transport system.
There is need to
implement sound macroeconomic policies.
There is a positive
correlation between sound macro economic conditions and economic growth.
Governments should desist from overspending and the budget deficit should be
kept minimal relative to total GDP. There is need to implement policies such
as tax reforms, strengthening the tax and customs administration, manage
exchange rate and curbing unproductive outlays. A small budget deficit means
that there is less borrowing from the banks by the governments leaving more
resources, which can be devoted to private sector investment.
Some progress has been made in restructuring and privatisation of public
enterprises, however more still has to be done to reduce reliance
on budgetary subsidies and transfers. This should expand the scope for
private sector activities and promote overall economic growth. Those that
might remain in the hands of the government should however be run on a
commercial basis with experts employed who should be able to carry out
In most SSA countries the central
banks lacks autonomy, financial institutions are thin and have difficult in
mobilising domestic savings and attract foreign private capital. Banking
institutions are fragile consisting mainly of indigenous banks and lack
proper supervision. There is need to ensure that the central bank is
autonomous, deepen and broaden financial markets, institute prudent
regulations and supervision, rehabilitate ailing banks, encourage health
competition and strengthen the legal framework for banking
There is significant progress made so far in the
area of trade liberalisation although restrictive and complex formalities are
found in some countries. Efficient regional integration would allow many
countries to overcome the problems associated with small sizes, permit them
to realise greater economies of scale and enhance their capacity to trade on
a global basis thus further enhancing economic growth. Competition generated
by opening up to trade can improve the quality of goods and services
by changing the way things are done. The essence of trade comes about
because countries are differently endowed with
Governments and regional organisation
should devote more resources in the area of science and technology. With the
impending globalisation, technology will be one key determinant of economic
growth. The setting up of vocational training centres and polytechnics is a
positive move in the quest for technological advancement
governments and regional bodies should come up with permanent solutions that
deal with issues of wars, genocides, hostilities and coups. Political
instability has been observed to be the main culprit in the slow growth of
some economies. For example Fosu (1992) finds the 'direct' adverse effect of
political instability in SSA to be as much as 33% of the GDP growth over the
1960-1986 period. His findings were found to be based on the Political
Instability Index of the frequencies of abortive 'coups', 'plots', as well as
'successful coups'. He hypothesized that political instability destabilise
economic rules of resource allocation. Such destabilisation will in turn
reduce efficiency of the production process and consequently economic growth.
Political instability is one of the major reasons that discourage foreign
Sub-Saharan Africa countries already know
their problems and in some cases even the appropriate panacea. However one of
their biggest problems is lack of implementation and sacrifice. For as long
as SSA countries are not prepared to face their challenges head-on, weed out
corrupt and non-performing leaders, commit itself to painful though workable
policies, then economic growth will remain asymptotic to their targets and
aspirations and the future doomed.
Kingstone Bhatasara is an
economist with Continental Securities Trading (Pvt) Ltd and a member of the
Zimbabwe Economics Society
Articles co-ordinated by Lovemore
Kadenge, president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society. Contact details C/O
Zimbabwe Business Council on Aids (ZBCA) Tel. 753700 (Unilever South East
Before Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the
United States, died last weekend, America had five surviving former
The death of Reagan of Alzheimer's disease at the age
of 93 means the US now has four former presidents, namely Gerald Ford, Jimmy
Carter, George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton.
A US child who was
born in 1974 when Ford succeeded Richard Nixon after his resignation over the
Watergate scandal has seen six presidents, including the incumbent George W
Bush, taking the helm as leader of the world's only remaining
In contrast, because of the rampant tradition of
clinging to power until death, an African child from the same generation
will, at most, have seen power changing hands only three times in his country
over the last 30 years.
In some cases, some African countries
have been ruled by one individual for almost 40 years. Examples that come to
mind immediately include President Omar Bango of Gabon and President
Gnassingbe Eyadama of Togo, who have clocked an incredible 37 years each.
They are closely followed by Colonel Muammar Gadaffi of Libya who has ruled
his country for 35 years.
I cite the example of the former US
presidents to underscore to those of our African statesmen who cannot imagine
themselves relinquishing their positions that there is life after State
Those African "life presidents" and self-proclaimed
"emperors" who believe that they are indispensable should take a leaf from
former American heads of state, most of whom remain as busy and as active as
ever after leaving elective office. As long as their health is good, there is
no question of these former leaders being left without function and pride
in continuing to be useful and productive.
One way through which
they continue to enrich the fabric of their society is the tradition of
building presidential libraries. An outgoing American president does not have
much time to twiddle his fingers in boredom because immediately upon leaving
the White House he must immerse himself in the business of raising funds for
the construction of his presidential library in his home state.
Former US presidents also continue to contribute to national
and international discourse by publishing their memoirs, going on the
lecture circuit and setting up foundations championing various
Carter, for example, has been hailed for his humanitarian
work and the prominent role he has played in mediating international
disputes. Clinton, who only left office in 2001, has already set up a
foundation dealing with the issue of sourcing affordable AIDS drugs for the
When King Hussein of Jordan died in 1990, I
remember reading that Clinton, then American president, had been accompanied
to the funeral by three of his predecessors. These were Ford, Carter and Bush
I have also seen, on special occasions and anniversaries,
Queen Elizabeth II posing for pictures with the incumbent British Prime
Minster Tony Blair and some of his predecessors such as John Major,
Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath, etc.
Whenever I see a line-up
of these former leaders, I marvel at the collective wealth of experience and
wisdom that is available for their nations to tap into.
despair over the fact that in Africa, we never get to enjoy the benefits of
having elder statesmen enriching our lives. Most either cling to power until
death or are unceremoniously ousted in a bloody coup, thus taking their
accumulated knowledge and wisdom to the grave.
The first president
of a democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, has, however, given the
continent hope that things could improve. Since stepping down as president in
1999, Mandela has demonstrated why he is regarded as one of the most revered
statesmen in the world today.
After his one-term incumbency as head
of state, Madiba threw himself with gusto into new activities that have kept
him as busy as before. As an elder statesman, he has served as a mediator in
a number of continental and international disputes. In addition, he has been
indefatigable in raising funds for the various causes he has championed
through the foundations he has established in South Africa.
recently, he lent his prestige and "magic" to the proceedings when he and
another elder statesman from the world of religion, the straight-talking
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, accompanied President Thabo Mbeki to Switzerland
when South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 soccer World Cup.
Because greed, corruption, selfishness and over-inflated egos have led to the
emergence of dictatorial and tyrannical regimes that aim to stay in power
perpetually, former rulers who go back to being ordinary citizens are a rare
species in Africa.
Recent developments in a number of African
countries mean, however, that we are soon to see a number of still energetic
former presidents reintegrating into society as ordinary citizens. These
include Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Bakili Muluzi of Malawi and Sam
Nujoma of Namibia.
They can learn a great deal from Mandela, who
has shown that by quitting while you are still popular, you can continue to
be admired, revered and influential. Most importantly, you can continue to be
useful to your country.
It is far better situation to be in than
that of deposed dictators whose people have a sigh of relief and say "good
riddance" when they are finally dragged from State House.
When money gets to one's head, it
becomes an intellectual liability.
Agreed, money is power, but
justice is even more powerful.
Philip Chiyangwa thought he could
bad-mouth anyone, including a court of law, but he has had to reform - to the
extent of becoming a Christian.
Chiyangwa thought he could threaten
and insult any soul or institution without justice lifting as much as a
finger to reprimand him.
But ask him and he will tell you that all
the money in the world could not stop the fleas from feeding fat on his rich
flesh for a number of sleepless nights in prison.
In Cape Town,
an enormous seaside mansion is no longer under construction, not because
Chris Kuruneri does not have the money to complete it, but because his mouth
Kuruneri would tell any journalist who cared to listen
that "his hands are clean" when the police began to show interest in how he
had become rich so quickly.
In spite of all his angelic
statements, the cabinet minister ended up in remand prison - and is still
A loud mouth costs a lot of money and time behind bars,
in disciplinary hearings or ends in humiliation.
Chinotimba was at it again last week, throwing mud all over Minister John
Nkomo. Although he has since taken back his words, the general of the farm
invasions may pay for abusing his mouth.
As for Mutumwa Mawere, the
fellow should just shut up.
The seemingly smart Mawere is in
quicksand but he cannot stop kicking and fidgeting and splashing mud all
Mawere, wanted for alleged externalisation of billions of
dollars, told journalists last week the government was free to revoke his
His arrogant statements in the media can
only strengthen the resolve of the ZANU PF police to nab him and make him get
a feel of our remand prison.
The anti-corruption crusade is
increasingly becoming a matter not to joke with but Mawere still has the guts
to talk a talk he cannot walk.
The young tycoon has already
forgotten that for him and his good Uncle Bob and several of their ZANU PF
comrades, the world no longer includes Europe or America, where the Julius
Makonis and Nicholas Vingirais of this country have decided to take refuge
from Zimbabwean law.
Mawere's utterances in recent media reports
can only but incense the ruling party that he has allegedly severally
manipulated to achieve his wealth.
His deals and empire, it is
said, could not have been successful without the ruling party deliberately
looking aside as long as those at the top got a share of the
Mawere is also blind to the fact that the good old Uncle
is strategically attempting to retire in grace, having flushed out
the cancerous rot that had been gnawing steadily at his party.
President Robert Mugabe carries the bad-boy cross because of the chains that
his kith have bound him with through their immorality and general neglect of
the fundamentals that make a ruling party credible, reliable and
While he is still basking in the apparent glory
surrounding the "success" of the controversial so-called Third Chimurenga,
President Mugabe has already instigated a Fourth Chimurenga.
This chimurenga, or war, is aimed at cleansing his party of the evils that
resulted from the second and third chimurengas, such as the Gukurahundi that
killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Matabeleland province,
general political violence and corruption.
This chimurenga will
purge ZANU PF of unpatriotic, selfish and greedy politicians and businessmen
who have fed on the scarce resources of the nation to the detriment of all
It is a purge that is likely to disregard any
political affiliation, liberation war credentials or blue-eyed-boy
And Mawere's vehement self-defence in the media seems to
suggest that our law enforcement agents may have stumbled on
All the same, talking to the media the way he did wasn't
smart. He could simply have said:"Talk to my lawyers."
he will need a very good lawyer. If only he had kept his mouth